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Changes we may not notice
Random Thoughts – May 19, 2022
Random Thoughts by Wendell Smith

MUSCODA - There is an “old saying” that goes something like: “The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself!”

Perhaps that refers to the changes in our day-to-day activities that were so gradual we didn’t realize it was going on. That happens to Vi and I quite often as in about three weeks will we will start our 64th year in Muscoda and we often look back at something and wonder, “When did that happen?”

There have, of course, been many obvious changes in the weekly newspaper business during that time, including numerous equipment changes, especially when we recall “life before computers and cell phones.”

Perhaps when we look back at early days and compare them with now – we may be similar to aging farmers who look over their shoulders to the time when they did their job with a Farmall H or a John Deere B tractor and two-row attachments.

The big changes are remembered – but what about the little stuff? That question came to mind a few days ago when I was paging through old file books of Progressives. Several interesting things were happening in Avoca and I went there for stories and pictures.

Numerous folks were involved in a community production named “Auld Avoca Antics.” It was presented two nights by the Avoca American Legion on the Community Building stage. It aimed to “depict life from the gay 90s through the roaring 20s right up to the rock and roll days.”

I took several photographs of local ladies who were on stage. Named were: Mrs. Don Pechan and Mrs. Vincent Lynch, with a Chicago style dance, and Mrs. Joe Pechan and daughter Marilyn performed a stage-shaking Charleston.

A chorus line dance included Mrs. Lionel Baxter, Mrs. Richard Olson, Mrs. LeRoy Riddiough, Mrs. Norbert Fleming and Mrs. Laverne Wardell.

Pictured on the following page of the same newspaper was a photo of lady members of the Avoca Aquanauts as they got ready for the summer water ski season. The shot included Mrs. Don Parrell, Mrs. Bill Lynch, Mrs. Leroy Riddiough, Mrs. Richard Sailing and Mrs. Jack Harris.

When reading those old stories I had to wonder – “How did that happen?” The talented ladies were all identified by the name of their husband. That didn’t seem right – the gals did the work but they didn’t get the deserved credit.

When did that writing style change? I don’t remember, but at least now the ladies get credit when credit is due – with their own name!

Morel Musings

This year the traditional Mushroom Festival competition among morel hunters to find the biggest, tallest, heaviest, most in a bunch, etc.” were not held. However, if you found an especially tall or heavy morel and wondered where it would stand among morels of the past, records indicate to be considered tall a morel needs to be in the 11 to 12 inch range. Past prize morels have topped the scale at about a quarter of a pound and some have grown in clumps of 14 or more.

Perhaps morel hunting has changed a bit over time. When the festival began hunters often looked under dead or dying elm trees to find morels. Now big elms are rare, but in 1968 there were 65 of the sick trees in the Muscoda village that were wearing a big red X that was a notice from the village that the trees were dying and needed to be cut.